Gulls Open Homestand With Win Over CondorsMar 26, 2021
The San Diego Gulls won their third straight game, tonight defeating the Bakersfield Condors 4-1 at FivePoint Arena. With the win, San Diego improved to 29-19-1-2 all-time against its division rival, including a 16-9-0-1 mark on home ice.
Rookie netminder Olle Eriksson Ek stopped 23-of-24 Bakersfield shots to earn his fourth career win. Eriksson Ek ranks fourth among rookie goalies in goals-against-average (2.23, min. 5 games played) and tied for fourth in save percentage (.920, min. 5 games played).
"There’s different things you look for in your goaltending," head coach Kevin Dineen explained. "Obviously they created some quality [chances]. They had a breakaway in the second period, they had a 2-on-1. He looked really solid on those. I like the pillow rebound recovery, meaning the puck hits you and it just tends to suck into you. I saw a lot of that tonight. Not only did he look big, he looked very solid. A really good effort out of Olle."
Offensively, it was night of firsts for San Diego as Nikolas Brouillard (2-0=2) scored his first two career American Hockey League goals to power the Gulls offensively. Bryce Kindopp also posted 0-2=2 points in his first career multi-point game while Alex Limoges recorded his first career AHL point (assist) in his AHL debut.
Chase De Leo notched his 200th career AHL point with a first-period goal.
"We played the right way," Dineen said. "Systems were strong and a little emotion mixed in. I liked our overall game."
San Diego continued its success on home ice, improving to 9-3-0-0 at FivePoint Arena this season. The Gulls co-lead the AHL in home wins (9) and rank second in home points (18).
Josh Mahura opened the scoring with a power-play goal midway through the first period, one-timing home a pass Sam Carrick. Mahura has 2-2=4 points in four games since his reassignment to San Diego on March 20.
Carrick (3-2=5) and Brendan Guhle each extended their point streaks to three games (0-3=3) with an assist on Mahura’s tally.
De Leo doubled the San Diego late in the first period. After a lengthy shift in the offensive zone, Limoges directed a puck into a wave of bodies in front of the net and De Leo found it first, swatting home a bouncing puck to put the Gulls ahead 2-0 with 2:26 to play in the opening frame.
"I knew the D didn’t have a shot so they were going to rim it," Limoges said. "I just tried to beat my guy to the puck and luckily he kind of over skated the play and gave me some room. I saw Chase and Drew in front and I knew one of was going to put it home. I got lucky there."
Eriksson Ek helped keep San Diego's advantage at two, denying Cooper Marody on a 2-on-1 rush at the 4:46 mark of the second frame.
Marody entered the game leading the American Hockey League in scoring (14-10=24). Bakersfield's center saw his 14-game point streak end in the loss.
Eriksson Ek came up with another key save just before the midway mark of the period, stopping Seth Griffith on a short breakaway chance.
Brouillard extended the lead to three in the third period, burying a wrist shot over Skinner’s blocker for his first goal with 6:11 remaining in regulation. Kindopp and Benoit-Olivier Groulx each recorded their first career power-play point (assist) on the goal.
Ostap Safin put Bakersfield on the board with a power-play goal at the 17:01 mark of the third period.
Just over a minute later, Brouillard capped the scoring with an empty-net goal, sealing San Diego’s 4-1 victory.
"I liked his game for the most part," Dineen said. "We gave him a little responsibility, playing against the top two scorers in the league tonight. I thought the Groulx line did a good job of containing that group and minimizing their chances. That was a good formula for us."
San Diego continues its four-game homestand tomorrow night on The CW San Diego against the Tucson Roadrunners at 7 p.m. PT.